The Flower Diaries

Growing Lilies

Growing Lilies

Some people associate lily flowers with funerals, but these summertime blooms are so much more than that! They come in wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors and once established, they require minimal care. 


Lilies grow best in zones 4 to 9 (our farm is in 6b), however, different varieties can tolerate different zones. Here’s an article that explains this in-depth better than I could! 


In general, if you’re planting lilies in the ground (we grow ours in crates), plant in the fall or early spring. Pick a spot that isn’t too exposed to wind and dig a hole at least 1 foot deep (or 3 times the height of the bulb) to help the plants develop sturdy roots and support their taller stems. Lilies want soil with good drainage and the roots will rot if planted in a spot that doesn't drain well. Make sure you water freshly planted bulbs well so that they don’t dry out. 

Depending on the variety, lilies can bloom from late spring through early fall. We mostly grow double oriental lilies which bloom mid summer and since we plant in successions, they last through early fall. Adding fertilizer or compost to the soil in the spring for extra energy will help promote growth. In milder climates, lilies do best in full sun and in hotter growing zones, they do best with partial shade. Your lily plants should be staked if they are tall to prevent stems from breaking, especially if they’re in shade because they won’t be as strong. 


There are many types of lilies and at the farm we grow over 25 varieties in shades of pink, white, orange, yellow, purple, and red. 


Lilies shouldn't be cut back until all the foliage is brown and has died, otherwise, the plant will not have as much energy to grow back the following year. It will be easier to overwinter your plants if they are in a well-drained spot because of the added moisture and covering with compost or mulch will further help with protection from winter weather. Like most perennials, lilies should be divided every 3 to 4 years. Propagate lilies by digging the bulbs up and dividing them when the plant goes dormant in the fall. 

Lily flowers have different meanings (stay tuned for that blog post) and will always have a special place in my flower farmer heart. If you want to experience a mix of farm-fresh traditional, rose, and calla lilies for yourself, check out our Lily Bouquet

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